Most Photographers Avoid Manual Mode, so One Animator Decided to Change Things

A photograph, in essence, is the result of four factors: aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and focus. But no one really cares these days. Automated modes do the thinking, execution is reduced to the pressing of the shutter release button — or a tap on the screen. Even though changing one parameter changes all the other parameters, each with different visual effects. But to be able to use manual mode one has to understand the physics behind it and the nature of light and shadows. Because it’s simple. Understand your camera. Take better photos.

That’s what London-based animator Simon Roberts thought. The designer, whose client list includes UNICEF, American Express and Yahoo, decided to build an interactive Web tool to simplify the annoying learning curve of how to handle the camera. This after discovering that two thirds of non-professional DSLR owners don’t use manual mode. And I bet many of the more serious shooters got used to auto modes as well.

So he decided to create this online animation for anyone to easily see how different settings affect not just how light or dark the image is, but things like motion blur, noise and depth of field:

Get your feet wet, try if you know how the camera settings and a scene’s light impact the final image.

And Simon Roberts created this beautiful large-size graphic which you can buy screen printed ($50) and riso printed ($27), free international shipping included:

Photography Graphic | Photography Mapped / Simon Roberts